It’s My Bag: Supping With Ali Larter, Pals and the Spirit of Devi Kroell

So many fashion dinners, so few reasons to attend. But the promise of catching up with friends poolside and under the stars at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood gave me motive enough to set out yet again in an already bustling week of fashion and beauty parties. It was almost like old times, when my day job inevitably dissolved into evenings of bubbly and dish in the name of business. But better, because these recent events I didn’t have to attend. I actually wanted to be there.

The marquee hosts for the evening were Ali Larter, Minnie Mortimer Gaghan and Claiborne Swanson Frank. While I couldn’t pick out the latter two society gals out of a Hampton’s line-up, Ali is another matter. No matter where her star has ranked, she has remained as charming and self effacing as ever and she proved to be an enjoyable tablemate seated on the other end of my mushroom risotto.

Fortunately, too, the conversation among those within earshot—including Christos Garkinos of Decades Two on my left and event producer Chrisitan Leone and Vogue‘s Jessica Kantor on my right along with a few other smart women surrounding us—meandered into the state of education in California, volunteer work and who will be L.A.’s next mayor. It was the Thursday before election day. Suffice it to say, Eric Garcetti, you’ve got the support among this stylish brigade.

Before the 50 of us took our seats along an endless table parallel to the pool, there were the requisite drinks over the merch: this was, after all, being paid for by Devi Kroell Inc. to toast the Spring/Summer 2013 bag collection.

Around the bar there stood four display towers lit up and lined with beautiful little lady bags and bijou clutches covered in pink snakeskin, grainy walnut and glossy metals. Gals dressed to the nines—Liz Goldwyn, Crystal Lourd, Shiva Rose, Brooke Davenport, Anna Getty and Marlien Rentmeester among them—worked the bags, room and photographers.

Stylist and neighbor Jessica de Ruiter and I caught up on our other new careers (as mothers) until we were prodded from our perch at the side of the room and outdoors. I never did get to talk to Magda Berliner, whom I spotted across the cocktail party; but I did exchange quick requisite kisses on each cheek with Jeff Kline, the guy who resurrected this Sunset Boulevard landmark and transformed it into somewhere the fashion flock like to flock.

The one obvious name card missing from the dining table was the namesake of the stunning collection being feted. The award-winning designer stepped away as CEO and creative director in May, 8 years after launching her line. Apparently the marriage between designer and financial backer was on the rocks. Devi was replaced as CEO by Ralph Bartel, a member of the family that has funded the company since 2008. Devi does remain a shareholder and on the board of directors.

Too bad. She was such a standout talent. She also would have had herself a good time.

Posted in Event, Fashion, Style

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